Is Eating Eggs Really As Bad As Smoking?

updated May 30, 2019
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If you follow health news, you’ve probably heard about the recent study concluding that for those over the age of 40, eating eggs yolks is nearly as bad for your heart as smoking. Does that mean we should start whipping up egg white omelets in placed of our soft-boiled egg every morning? Not according to The Atlantic — a recent article points out flaws in the study and reminds us that there are still many good reasons to keep eating the incredible, edible egg.

The original study examined the carotid wall thickness — an important indicator of heart disease risk — of over 1,200 patients who were also surveyed about their health habits, including smoking, exercise and consumption of eggs. Eating egg yolks, the researchers concluded, is two-thirds as bad for your heart as smoking cigarettes.

But there are problems with this study, says The Atlantic; first, it used a type of questionnaire that is notoriously unreliable, and more importantly, it singled out just one food from respondents’ diets as causing the trend toward arterial thickening. Experts like Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, agree:

“[The study] did not measure or control other aspects of diet such as intakes of meats, fruits, or vegetables and did not control for lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity. The data could be useful for generating some hypotheses, but it is difficult to draw any causal conclusions.”

The connection between egg yolks, cholesterol and good health is more complex than one study, but there is no doubt that these well-publicized conclusions have done some damage to eggs’ reputation. We’ll continue enjoying eggs in moderation as an economical, high-protein, unprocessed food full of nutrients — the majority of which are found in the yolks.

Check it out: Sunny-Side Up: In Defense of Eggs at The Atlantic

What do you think? Do studies like these change your eating habits when it comes to eggs?

(Image: Charlotte Lake/Shutterstock)